Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Richer Understanding of 3 Nephi 18

Sometimes I read scriptures uber slow.  It helps to catch the meaning of various things I would often overlook through speed.  And other times I read them especially fast.  Sometimes it's just because I'm in a rush, but other times I get a bigger picture of what's going on.

Last week I was preparing for my Primary lesson on the Sacrament.  I was to read 3 Nephi 18: 1-11.  I read it fast, and then kept reading.  I was BLOWN away by what was revealed.  I challenge the reader to pull out their copy and read 3 Nephi 18-20.  I find that when I read without any preconceived notions, and believe what it read, I make new discoveries.  So as you read, please let go of your traditions!  Allow the words on the page to speak for themselves.  Don't superimpose your long-held beliefs, to shift and twist and contort the meaning into something that fits into your current paradigm!  This is how to discover countless treasures on the pages.  And these chapters are LOADED.

Some highlights of Chapter 18:

  • vs. 1 Jesus commands the disciples to bring bread and wine.  WINE!  Not water.  Water is great for many other references, but this is wine.  Why?  How many references do we have for wine in the scriptures?  So many!  And it is SO symbolic.  How?  It is bitter.  It is red.  It looks like blood.  It comes from a vine (more and more references), attached to a branch, with roots.  It ferments.  It takes time and skill to make (translate: patience, mastery).  This is not your basic, "Oh, the water wasn't clean enough to drink back then so they used wine like we use water."  Lame!  Wine represented something more than just a drink available.  That's called dumbing down truth.  Don't believe me?  Why not?  Is your tradition stronger than scripture?  (If you think I'm being harsh here, and don't know why I am in such favor of using wine when our leaders insist we should not, please consider this piece on how we got here.  I do not believe it was revelation.  Please don't be offended if my opinion differs from yours until you study it in full.)   
  • vs. 2  Jesus commands the multitude (or crowd, congregation, ward, stake, etc) to SIT upon the EARTH.  Does this mean they didn't have chairs?  What about a log?  Was there significance in sitting on the earth?  Does it represent humility?  Is there a difference between kneeling and sitting?  In this instance, it says to sit.  (I recognize there are other points where kneel is used.)   
  • vs. 3-4  Jesus breaks and blesses the bread, gives to the disciples, commands them to eat.  They are filled.  Not starving still.  Not just held over until they can go dine on cheese and meat.  But they're filled.  They are then commanded to give it to everyone else present.  
I feel like there is so much in these verses!  One thing I don't want to overlook sharing is in verse 7.

  • Jesus tells them that it will be a testimony unto the father when we eat of this bread, that we do ALWAYS remember Christ.  Eat, remember, eat, remember.  AND IF you remember, you will have his Spirit.  What does that mean?  
I used to always think this was talking about the Holy Ghost.  If you eat and remember, you'll have the Holy Ghost.  Well duh!  Right?

But for the first time this had new meaning to me.  I'd like to share.

When we die, what happens to our spirits?  Do they remain individual?  Unique?  Do they rise up to meet our Creator?  Or do they remain with our bodies, tormented and lifeless underground?  Or do they just get aggregated to some massive "Holy Spirit"?  I believe they rise up, according to Alma, and we also retain our individuality as intelligences, while still progressing towards that "one-ness".  I could be wrong, but that's my understanding right now.  

What happened to Christ's spirit when he was killed?  He rose up, did he not?  Do we believe he taught and ministered during those 3 days?  Yes, most of us do.  When his body was resurrected, well, we say his spirit joined his body, but to be honest I really can't say exactly what happened.  But we say his spirit and body reunited.  Something special must have happened to his body to change it into an immortal one of flesh and bones.

Well let's reconsider the elements of a spirit being.  I believe my spirit inhabits my body, but it is also fluid.  I believe my spirit is part of my aura.  Lots of Christians believe this is hokey talk, but I think we're just using different words for the same thing.  So if my spirit is fluid, and extends beyond my body, I believe that like water, it is not a solid.  It is finer matter, and can be interrupted in order for our bodies to become closer.  This is how we feel someone behind us without seeing them.  "Surprise!" is the word that usually follows.

Let's think of this spirit temporarily as play doh.  Let's imagine we can break off a part of our spirit, leaving the bulk of our play doh inside our bodies.  Taking a piece off doesn't mean I don't have spirit left in my body, allowing it to function, but now I have a part of my play doh spirit in my hand, and I'll give it to my daughter.  So she has a part of my spirit to go with her, so she knows she's loved.  By carrying it with her to school, she has something tangible to remember me by.  It looks like me.  It feels like me.  It is part of me.

In essence, believe it or not, we do this all the time.  Most of us can't see our spirits, but some folks can.  We attach to people.  We form bonds, and connect with them through cords, thoughts, and other means.  If you don't believe this is true, I'd dare you to find an energy worker and have them teach you to "cut cords" of negative bonds and see how literal the release feels.  It is truth.

So back to Jesus.  When we eat the bread, and testify in that moment that we are remembering Christ, the return side of the commitment is that we will always have HIS spirit to be with us.  His.  Not the Holy Ghost.  But Jesus' spirit.  Does that make a difference in how you receive him?

The first time I saw this video I thought it was mocking Christians, but after perceiving what this verse really means, this was the first thing I think of.  Having Jesus' spirit to be with us is just like this video.  He is ALWAYS there when we remember him.  Like a chunk of play doh, but better.  So much better.

So imagine having Him by your side when you're feeling like you're doing dishes for the 2 millionth time, and no one is helping.  Or when the kids destroy the living room, AGAIN.  Or when you just don't have time to be the perfect mom, dad, or son or daughter.  He is there for you, instantly.  Let him make you smile.

And his spirit is so much more powerful than our spirits.  (I am not saying this is the only way to be one with God, but just one way to enjoy his presence.  There are many, many other ways.)  Think of all the good you or I could do (as well as all the harm).  Now think of how lowly and nothing we are in comparison to Him.  What a rich, RICH blessing we are afforded by the proper partaking of the sacrament.

So for the flip side, what would it do to your life, to partake of a sacrament the way our Lord instructed us?  Even commanded, as he did to the disciples?  Why do we disobey in the name of tradition?  We are doing this 50% wrong!  what if we subbed in KitKats for the bread?  Would it still feel as rich as the meaning of bread being used?  (No, really.)  We are breaking one of the richest, most beautiful commandments in the name of tradition.  Let's stop ignoring His commandments.  It is time to repent.

I thank my God above for showing me this one, tiny revelation in a new way to look at this verse.  I wish I were more diligent in reading and studying the scriptures.  I know they would be unfolded if only I really took the time to care.  I have so, so much work to do it's not even funny.  Hopefully Jesus will bear with me.  

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